“We obviously....had a faculty at Bassett that is quite gifted at teaching,” said Weil.
The Columbia Bassett Program has two hallmarks: the Systems, Leadership, Integration and Management, SLIM, program and a Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum.
Weil characterizes the SLIM program as the science and culture of performance improvement. He says that the curriculum teaches students to identify problems and inefficiencies in healthcare systems, and gives them the knowledge to correct them.
“They’re given tools other people might learn in business schools,” said Weil.
Students must also complete two SLIM related projects as part of their course of study. Some examples of these projects that Weil gave were making the operating room more efficient, making the hospital quieter at night and improving the smoking cessation program.
The Longitudinal Integrated Curriculum Bassett uses is another defining aspect of the program.
This program involves students, during their major clinical year, selecting patients to follow as they receive treatment. If a patient consents, a Bassett student will closely monitor every stage of a patient’s treatment, which usually involves them being in the same room as the patient.
“Most medical students see a patient once,” said Weil. “Our students are following....many individual patients for up to a year.”
Weil said that the program really helps the students get to know their patients as people. He also said that the patients respond well to having the medical students following them.
“They see the students as an asset to their card,” said Weil.
During orientation week, students in the Columbia Bassett Program spend their first day at a family-run business in Otsego County. Weil says that this is done to give the program’s student perspective on the impact that practicing medicine can have.
After orientation, Columbia Bassett students spend their first 18 months doing pre-clinical work at Columbia University, following the same curriculum as other Columbia students. They then move up to Cooperstown, where they spend their major clinical year. After their major clinical year, students may work elsewhere, but remain based in Cooperstown.